It never fails. I hear a story about great customer service and then am hit with too many examples of customer service failures. While the great stories are wonderful to hear, the failures are baffling. There’s never been a more important time to deliver on what you promise.
When you set up your business, its products and/or services, the pricing, and value, you are determining what it is that you sell. It’s more than the ‘thing.’ It’s about what you promise to deliver. In order to gain a prospect’s attention and business you have to be able to differentiate yourself. A lot of business owners do this by promising to be attentive, communicative, or go above and beyond the norm.
For example, an insurance agent will say that she reviews her client’s portfolios at renewal. Then she touches base with those clients about their plans. For many prospects that’s a differentiator. They are so used to the agent who signs them up and then forgets them.
So, what happens when she doesn’t follow through? What happens when the client gets their renewal and their insurance has increased dramatically? How does their agent look now? Not so great. And it’s not so much about the dramatic increase. It’s that it came without any warning or conversation with their agent. Their agent didn’t live up to the promise she made. You can imagine the feeling the client is left with. They feel like the agent lied. They feel that the agent moved on after making the sale and doesn’t really care about them or their business.
Now the client thinks ‘well, if the agent isn’t going to be loyal to me, I’m not going to be loyal to her. Now I’m going to shop my insurance.’ Right? Right; because the agent wasn’t there. The agent didn’t build any sort of loyalty or connection with her client. As far as the client is concerned, they can get this kind of bad service anywhere. And if they can cut their cost, all the better.
Moreover, the client isn’t going to refer people to that agent because they don’t believe in that agent. Now the agent is working harder to bring on more clients. She is in a position where she is replacing lost clients instead of adding to the foundation of happy, long term clients.
Clients want to be loyal to their vendors. They want to find a solution provider and stay there. They have to be given a reason that is compelling because they are always confronted with alternatives. It’s a competitive market out there. If you aren’t servicing your clients, someone else will.
Your clients don’t owe you anything. You keep them by following through on your promises. You gain their loyalty when you maintain or over deliver on your service; when you mean what you say. So, as you continue to navigate the minefield of sales, pay attention to what you say. Make sure you aren’t promising something you can’t deliver. Or something you have no intention of delivering. Understand why people buy, and why they buy from you. Then make sure you do those things. Otherwise you run the risk that they will leave and they will bad mouth your company. Not really a strategy for success, is it?